Let’s face it, we’re all cranky right now. We’ve been sequestered at home for months without any clear end. Plus my regular bookstore “date with myself” to browse and discover new books has taken a serious hiatus.

I know we’re all in the same boat, so my pledge to you, dear blog reader, is to help kidlit writers feel less alone at sea by introducing you to fun new books.

Cristina Ergunay just released this adorable bedtime read…

Cristina, any author releasing a book in 2020 has every right to be cranky—it’s difficult to get the word out when everyone is hunkered down at home. But Cranky Crab, living under the shimmering sea, what’s his excuse? 

Like any small, strong-willed child, Cranky Crab has no interest in settling down for the night—and is testing the boundaries of bedtime. There are too many other things to do! But Crab needs a good night’s sleep and grows crankier with every page turn, almost to the brink of an underwater meltdown. Thankfully, Mama Crab knows just how to change the dynamic and calm her little crustacean.

Did you think about character before you wrote the story….like, why a crab?

Actually, I didn’t think about character in the original version, and that story didn’t sell.  Lovely turns of phrase, dreamy creatures, and sweet rhyming with well-metered stanzas are all part of the recipe, but without a strong character, creating tension by swimming against the proverbial tide, the rest of the bedtime story fell flat.

So revisions later, I picked one of my sea creatures to be that character, and crab felt like a very natural choice because kids can easily relate to feeling grumpy when you don’t want to do something—and yet, I wanted crab to find reassurance in the end, that no matter how cranky you feel, you’re still loved.

Ah, character is so important to the success of a picture book! Your crabby guy is just ducky! And I love the other cute creatures who make cameos.

If you hadn’t picked a crab, what other kind of animal would make a good bedtime grump?

I think maybe a Black Rain Frog would make a great bedtime grump!  I don’t know much about them, but the mug on this frog is outstanding!  Maybe there’s a story in there?


Cristina, what other creative ways have you tried to promote your new book?

It’s been challenging to get creative in the time of COVID, and maintaining some kind of an online presence—social media, connecting with local libraries for virtual storytimes—has been essential. I made a fun promotional door hanger for kids to use at bedtime—I love Heather Gross’s illustrations, her crab makes me laugh! I hope it helps other families to take the tension away from cranky bedtimes!

Do you have any special before-bed rituals that help you settle in for a good night’s sleep?

I like to turn on my strings of twinkle lights, get into my pajamas, and read Treasure Island or Paddington to my daughter until she falls asleep. Or until I fall asleep. Whichever comes first.

Reading before bed is also my favorite way to wind down. But sometimes I’m cranky and refuse to put the book down. That’s why picture books at night are a smart idea—they’re short and yours is definitely sweet!

Cristina is giving away a copy of BEDTIME FOR CRANKY CRAB plus a door hanger so your bedtimes will be sweet, too.

Leave one comment below to enter.

A random winner will be selected next month.

Good luck!